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misce stultitiam consiliis brevem

New QC shirt

I’m not sure what to think about the new shirt from Questionable Content. On the one hand: Cat! Jet pack! Science! Glow in the dark! On the other hand: What does the phrase “Science is a verb now” actually mean? The blurb for the shirt, to its credit, actually does use “science” as a verb:

Pay no attention to the cat sciencing through space. She was sciencing where she wasn’t supposed to science and it is our hope that in the end her sciencing will help further the cause of science.

I’m all for sciencing to further the cause of science, but without that explanatory text (which, unlike the title of a certain story, does not appear on the shirt itself) I find the phrase pretty puzzling. When I first saw it, I thought it was perhaps refering to the idea that “verbs are actions; nouns are things”, which is a huge oversimplication, and which I therefore do not want to encourage. Speaking of which, here is a shirt I know I love.

But anyway, back to the QC shirt: am I overthinking? Does it really mean what it says? Does it mean something else entirely? Am I overthinking because OMG it’s a glow in the dark cat with a jetpack and SCIENCE!?

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Quirk October 19th, 2009 1:43 am

    I actually went “OMG it’s a glow in the dark cat with a jetpack and SCIENCE” and bought /two/ of the shirts a couple of days ago before finding that I couldn’t look up what it meant. I think of “science” as a gerund from Latin “scio” anyway…but mostly, I think that verbing is awesome, cats are awesome, science is awesome, and glowing in the dark is especially awesome.

  2. Emily Morgan October 19th, 2009 1:50 am

    Oh, hmm, I totally didn’t catch the reference to verbing. That kind of makes it a lot better. On the other hand, the Calvin and Hobbes comic itself buys into exactly the “verbs are actions; nouns are things” idea that I was rejecting in my post. I like the comic anyway, on the grounds that encouraging people to think about the cool things you can do with language is worth it, even if the specific conclusion the comic draws is wrong. (Notice that, despite Hobbes’ dire prediction, Calvin’s punchline is 100% understandable.)

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